NewsPolk County


SWAT standoff: Man in custody after barricading himself in home with two kids for 23 hours in Lakeland

Posted at 6:46 AM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 12:18:40-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — A man is in custody after a SWAT standoff that lasted about 23 hours in Lakeland.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said the standoff ended a little before 8:30 p.m. Thursday and deputies safely took 30-year-old Nickolus Johnson into custody. Deputies said Johnson refused to come out of he and his mother's home with two children, ages four and nine. Johnson's mother was not home when deputies first arrived on scene.

Deputies initially responded to a call at Johnson's mother's home on Deeson Road at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after reports of a possible shooting.

Deputies say Johnson shot at his ex-girlfriend while she was in her vehicle when she arrived to pick up their two children. The victim told deputies she went to the home after Johnson called her and made "irrational statements." Shortly after getting to the home Johnson pulled out a gun and fired at her. One bullet stuck in the front center windshield of her vehicle, deputies say.

The children's mother called 911 and left the scene. She was not hurt.

Johnson then barricaded himself inside and responding deputies set up a perimeter around the home and tried to speak with him. Johnson told deputies the children were okay but also said he was not leaving the home.

Over the course of the long standoff, Johnson told deputies and the SWAT team multiple times that his children were not going to be hurt. Deputies said Johnson fluctuated from being irate to calm during the standoff.

During the standoff, authorities say Johnson's mother, 49-year-old Nikki Whigham, arrived at the home and ignored commands to stay back from the scene. Deputies say Whigham tried to walk past them several times in an attempt to enter the home. She then began yelling at her son to stay inside and no co-operate with authorizes.

Deputies say Whigham was arrested and she became verbally combative with deputies.

Deputies eventually was able to get Johnson to near the front door and safely took him into custody. Johnson has a history of mental health issues, the sheriff's office says. After the standoff he was served with an Ex Parte Order for an involuntary mental illness evaluation and a Risk Protection Order.

Both children were safely rescued from the scene and are now with family members, deputies said.

Johnson is charged with attempted second-degree homicide, shooting into an occupied vehicle, armed kidnapping, child abuse, resisting without violence, discharging a firearm on residential property, improper exhibition of a firearm, culpable negligence, shooting at a dwelling and criminal mischief.